The Flash "Family of Rogues" (REVIEW)
Written by Jacob Chimilar (@sweetlows)
This episode starts with bang, literally! Iris is hunting down a lead revolving around some criminal activity, and it ends up getting her caught and caught up in a crossfire. Iris immediately phones Barry. He rushes in and pulls an "Aladdin" asking her to trust him and jump off the rooftop she is on. She jumps, Barry saves her and he takes out the bad guys. It's a cool sequence, one you come to expect from the show.
Back at the lab we find the location of the main breach that Cisco and Dr.Stein found last episode. They have been trying to see just how stable the portal is by throwing objects, and Jay Garrick into it. Everything has bounced back. When Barry comes back from saving Iris, Jay suggested that maybe the reason nothing is going through is simply because it needs to be going faster. Barry, up to the task, and seemingly trying to show off, races to the portal and is swifty bounced back, ending that hypothesis. The team then is tasked with stabilizing the portal so that it can actively send things through, interestingly though they don't really seem to think that its a tunnel that both sides can enter, so if they fixed it something could come through the other side much more easily now that it's fixed. Those issues aside, Jay takes it upon himself to lead the portal fixing task, with some help from the very willing Catlin to assist him. That's what happens when you have a crush on someone, you help them build portals to other dimensions!
At CC Jitters, The gang is all hanging out, ordering "Flash" coffee (a highly caffeinated drink that'll keep you going all day!) when Barry bumps into Officer Spivot. They have some awkward and cute small talk. Later in the episdoe they meet again and Spivot offers Barry her number, you know, just in case she has questions about cases. yeah... cases. Moments after the first encounter though Lisa Snart also happens to be in the neighborhood and bumps into Cisco. She however is in some trouble. She believes that her brother Leonard Snart AKA Captain Cold has been kidnapped seeing as she hasn't heard from him in quite some time. They decide to play along with her plea to help find Cold. Cisco of course has a way to track him through the Cold gun he made for him. Barry goes after him, however it appears that not only does he not need saving, he is in the middle of a job, with his father Louis. Cold freezes Barry and they get away, after which, Louis with a miniature thermite bomb installed in a third henchmen's head explodes with his frequency detonator. Barry, now risking hypothermia asks for help, and Cisco, once again proving his forward thinking prowess, installed a thermal heating system in Barry's suit, and quickly he defrosts saving him from any real harm. Once Barry returns and tells Lisa the news, she is shocked to hear that he was working with his father because they were abused by him as kids and it drove them apart.
Furthermore, we see Francine West, who made a small appearance last week trying to get back into Iris' life after 20 years of being away. Joe refuses to let her see Iris because after all that time he told Iris that her mom was gone and that she was a wonderful woman, when in fact she was struggling with a drug addiction and he had to let her go simply because she wasn't capable of being a good mother or wife to Iris and Joe. After some soul searching, breaking the news to Barry, who also didn't know about Francine, Joe takes Barry's advice and tells Iris the truth about her. It's a nice moment andJoe character is always written and performed so well. That helps to go easy on the "Why didn't you tell me?" that can get a bit cliche nowadays.
We soon find out that Louis had managed to put a bomb in Lisa's head as well. He is using it as leverage to have his son help him with the thefts he is pulling. Cisco scans Lisa and finds the bomb. Now its just a simple task of removing it. Except the bomb will explode when exposed to the air. Now he has to devise a way to take it out but keep it from coming in contact with the air and killing more than just Lisa. Not exactly easy, but if anyone can do it, it's going to be Cisco.
To try and stall Louis from detonating the bomb in her head, Barry goes under cover to help the Snarts rob an office building containing a safe full of diamonds, fitting for the icy rogue. Barry calls himself Sam the safe cracker and with Cold vouching for him, Louis adds him to the team. He unlocks the safe using his super speed typing in hundreds of combos, which to me isn't all that probable. I'd give it 5 tries before they lock down the keypad and security is called but whatever moves the show forward I guess. Once he does Louis, who has a tendency to dispose of loose strings, shoots Barry leaving him for dead. What Louis doesn't know is that in actuality, using his speed, Barry manages to catch the bullet mid air and merely plays dead. They continue on, to a sequence that made me laugh. Leonard uses his cold gun to "freeze" the lasers arming a hallway and breaks them as he walks by. Not sure what they thought when they came up with that one.
When Barry gets up he returns, as The Flash, to stop Louis from stealing the diamonds. Cisco tells Barry while they are talking that he created a gun that should be able to take the bomb out of her neck, however the device uses compressed air to activate, so there is a big possiblity the whole thing could go south from there. Skiddish, Cisco asks for Barry to stall as best he can while he tries to remove it. It's a tense scene and but good old Cisco keeps on batting 1000 and successfully removes it. Once Flash tells the Snarts the news Leonard shoots his dad with the cold gun sending an icy spike through his chest. His father with his dying breath calls him a traitor. Harsh words to say to your son but Cold clearly had enough of his father and threatening his sister was the final nail in the coffin.
Cut to the jail meeting area, Barry and Snart are having a conversation about what happened and Barry believes that Snart can do good if he has the right motivations. This is clearly a set up for him to move on to Legends of Tomorrow, he'll probably be the one convincing Heat Wave to join him in the process.
Returning once again to the lab, it seems as though Jay and Catlin were able to successfully stabilize the portal. They show everyone their handy work and Jay says his goodbyes as he heads back to Earth 2. Catlin, being the one who doesn't want to see Jay go, convinces him to stay a little longer, help run tests here to help Earth Prime while he can since there is no way he can take on Zoom without the speed force. After which Dr.Stein, who had a fainting spell returns and seems fine, but has yet another episode this week, instead bursting into flames a la firestorm, but the flames this time turn a bright blue right before fainting once again. They rush him off to a hospital and the portal is left to sit open, just waiting for someone to come through... and they certainly do.
This episode was one that was less essential to the overall plot, and for me wasn't the most engaging. As much as I like a good villain of the week, this one was far from a good one. Yeah there was some family drama but I like the episodes where there are cool problems to solve with the villains, not just, how to defuse a bomb. Hopefully next week will be a bit of a bounce back to the awesomeness of The Flash, this one is just a minor note in the major score the show has been playing.